UCL: United Secure Comeback Win To Wrap-Up Qualification, Chelsea Fail To Top Group As Atletico Bow Out
The duo of Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford scored two goals in three minutes to earn Manchester United a 2-1 Champions League comeback win over CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
CSKA had taken a surprise lead through Alan Dzagoev on the stroke of half-time despite United’s appeals for offside, but Jose Mourinho’s two strikers hit back in the second half to ensure the Red Devils finished top of Group A to qualify for the knockout stages.
United dominated the opening stages but lack the ruthless edge they showed in the 3-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, with Marcus Rashford putting a gilt-edged chance against the post.
The hosts were made to pay for their profligacy right before the interval as CSKA broke down the right and a cut-back fell to Vitinho, whose effort deflected in off the back of Dzagoev.
The Russian looked to be in an offside position, but Daley Blind – who slid off the field in the build-up – was still considered active in the move, and the goal was given. United kept pressing for a route back into the game after the break, and caught CSKA with a one-two sucker punch midway through the half.
Despite the late scare, United held on to secure a the result which leaves Mourinho’s men top of their group to set up a potentially favourable last-16 draw. Chelsea missed a chance to finish top of Champions League Group C after a 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid, who will settle for a Europa League spot.Saul Niguez scored in the second half and goalkeeper Jan Oblak put on a show, and though a Stefan Savic allowed Chelsea to equalise, the result helped neither team. With Roma defeating Qarabag in the other group game, the Serie A side will top the group on the head-to-head tiebreaker, while Chelsea already through to the knockout stage — finish second and Atletico third, four points adrift.
Alvaro Morata had three opportunities to score in the first half but could not put Chelsea into the lead. After the striker spun at the top of the box and fired just wide of the post, he was denied twice from close range by fine saves from Jan Oblak.
The Atletico goalkeeper then made his best stop to thrwart Davide Zappacosta, whose low shot from the edge of the area appeared headed for the bottom corner. In the second half, Oblak was again on hand to catch Andreas Christensen’s header, and moments later was able to put a hand to Morata’s header following a corner.
Atletico nearly took the lead in the 53rd minute when Filipe Luis rattled the post with a shot, and Chelsea keeper Thibault Courtois was able to recover in time to catch Koke’s follow-up header.
But the visitors were in the lead three minutes later as Koke sent in a corner kick that was expertly headed on by Fernando Torres to Saul, who could not miss. An equalizer would have seen Chelsea top the group instead of Roma, but Christensen missed a header wide with the net gaping, and Morata was again denied by Oblak on the goal line.
The goal finally came following a corner, the ball coming out to Hazard, who put a shot towards goal that struck Savic before entering the net.